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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Saud, Abdulaziz ibn

33.5138073, 36.2765279

Tues Dec 9. [9 December 1913] Rainy. In the afternoon went with Dr
M. [Mackinnon] and Dr Ward to call on 'Abd al Rahman Beg Amir al
Hajj. He has not been on the Hajj for 2 years. His grandfather Said
Pasha, a Kurd, got an enormous amount of property in this country by
fair means and foul. 'Abd al R. had just come back from C'ple
[Istanbul (Constantinople)] which he reported to be in a very well
ordered position. Dined with Muhammad al Ma'rawi in the Maidan.
His two brothers there, his son Qasim. Abd al Aziz Humud, agent of
Ibn al Rashid, a black door keeper of Ibn al Rashid (eunuch?) in a
frock coat and others. We talked of antiquities and 'Abd al Aziz, a
strange slight tall figure in ..... abayya and immense gold bound agal
and gold keffiyeh, spoke of strange worked stones brought into
Hayyil [Hail], of the Haddaj and its feeling springs, of foundations
revealed at Tema [Tayma'] by recent ruins, of the mosques at
Kerbela [Karbala] and Nejef [Najaf, An] and the treasures in them. Ibn
Rashid and Ibn Sa'ud have lately had a slight disagreement but there
is now peace. They asked me of ancient money and when money
first began and I wrote for them the Safaitic alphabet. 'Abd al Aziz
scarcely moved, spoke in a low soft voice lovely Arabic, kept his
eyes mostly cast down; a sly treacherous face with thin black hair on
it. My neighbours muttered occasionally Ya Lalif! Ya Manjud[?].
They asked 'Abd al 'Aziz whether any city was fairer than Damascus
[Dimashq (Esh Sham, Damas)]. He had just come from C'ple which
he knows well; was there when the Bulgarians reached Chatalja. He
said in respect of air and gardens no place better than Damascus but
C'ple bigger. Muhammad al M.'s wife from Tema, a regular beduin
woman among all the Shawan. So out into a moonlit night and home
by tram.

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